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Photo Notebook: Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival 2021

Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Robert Randolph & the Family Band‘s leader | Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival | 21.10.02 | Eddie Kramer, Jimi’s engineer, calls RR the Hendrix of Pedal Steel Guitar.

Eddie Kramer, Jimi’s engineer, calls RR the Hendrix of Pedal Steel Guitar
Lanesha (sister) | Robert Randolph & the Family Band | Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival | 21.10.02


Double basses blasting, with guitarist Ian Neville (Art’s son) shedding the baby face and big fro.

JD Chaisson (above image, 1st horn fr L) and Rick Matt (2nd) of Steeltown Horns | w/ Dumpstaphunk | 21.10.02 | Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival D-Phunk has added a permanent horn section to their lineup. I told Rick that maybe the band liked what Steeltown brought in support at Flood City Music Festival and Feastival over the years, and decided to lock in that sound. Matt was happy for the invitation.

Third World

Stephen Cat Coore setting up for a moving ‘Redemption Song’ on viola.
Cat Coore and Richie Daley are the remaining founding players in this fabled outfit.
Ivan Neville (Aaron’s son) of Dumpstaphunk (right), backstage with Nigel Hall.

Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen | Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival | 21.10.02 Jon was the day’s sleeper show. Nigel Hall‘s guest appearance on organ didn’t hurt. A couple of Dumpstaphunk members stepped in for the set’s closer to add even more Big Easy flavor.

Nigel Hall was announced as Jon Cleary’s guest a few days before the festival.

Morris Day & The Time

MD and the usual antics – crowdpleaser. What’s Jerome’s job again?

M. Day w/Jerome the Butler

Robert Cray

MD & The Time were a late add, positioned right before RC. I was concerned that true blues would be too much of a step change after Day’s antics, but it didn’t take long to see why Cray has been a major player since Strong Persuader catapulted him in 1986. That was the way to end HBHF. Wow. One more thing that I observed: Robert Cray is exquisite in a song’s closure. He can feather it down super-gently, or he can surprise with one more burst of vocal energy, or he can have a bandmate throttle the guitar amp to take it out. He’s a pro of pros.

Festival headliner Robert Cray
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